Thursday, May 12, 2022

My Path to Financial Freedom

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The Above video is follow up to previous blog.

Why do I think I told you this, but I find no trace of it on these pages? A couple of years ago, a really great gal I know from doing background work, offered the services of her husband to me. I took her number and let her know that I would reach out when I was ready. You know, because beggars / choosers? Just kidding, she had just offered because, apparently her husband is very good with personal finance stuff and loves to help people. It did seem too good to be true. I was living with my lovely then husband, Calvin at the time. All my energy was going towards survival but I never forgot the offer. A Few years later, I am now working as a trucker, I'd saved a decent amount of money for buying a house. We were in the middle of a pandemic, I was sitting with what I considered a ton of money. Opportunity cost anybody? My head was spinning, and my hands itching.

I needed to do something other than have my hard earned, truck driving money accumulate dust (which is what I mean by opportunity cost. Enter the lovely friend's husband. I texted her one day, out of the blue and asked if the offer was still available. She told me when her husband was going to be home. Oh shoot! I guess we're doing this today, wow! OK, sure! The appointment was set. She, her husband and I talked for hours. We talked about life and other things. And we talked about finance. He suggested I start with the most important things first: Save for retirement. I didn't have retirement accounts at the time and I'm not a spring chicken! Ever felt like you're so behind at life, that you have so much to catch up on? Welcome to my world. My homework was to open up a 401k and an IRA (both retirement accounts) and then a high yielding savings account. I was to then distribute my funds to those respective accounts... and wait! I was excited to have a direction! And to think that I was going to start saving for retirement in a way I didn't know about a few hours prior. I was always going to save, it's just something I do, but this was a much better way to do it than just  keeping money in a checking account. Moreso because American checking accounts don't offer automatic interest, unlike South African. 

Here's what I did. More research on the above. I was also sent a bunch of books and podcasts. When I tell you I was excited! I'm smiling just reminiscing! If there's a subject I love to talk about, it's money, believe it or not. I know I don't talk much about finance on this blog, but once in a while, I do update you about such things as my credit score, how I built it etc, how I bought, or manifested my dream car, etc. I even saved most of my stipend when I was an English teaching volunteer in Georgia, Eastern Europe.  All this is to say, you can always set aside a couple of bucks. It makes for a sense of security. Especially you my female readers with spouses who are bread winners. Have a little financial cushion set aside. I know I wouldn't have been able to escape the volatile marriage I was in had I not had financial security. 

After contacting Human Resources of my trucking employer, who has since fired me, but this was while I worked for them; I set up both retirement accounts. I had since found out that the company would match my 401k up to 3% of my annual salary or $2000 maximum, which ever came first. That's free $2k from the company, contingent upon you putting the same amount down or more towards your own retirement. What? How did I not know about this all my life? Never mind, I didn't really have a real job up until now! Maximum IRA I could put aside, according to the American Government was about $5500 per year at the time. You can look more into this, this is just to trigger what was triggered in me in you, in hopes that if, like me, you didn't know, you can get started saving for your future. It was towards the end of the year. I set up automatic deductions in my paycheck to take out as much money as was necessary to make sure I had the company match of $2k in those few pay periods left that year. I also maxed out my IRA right away. Time was of the essence. Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the economy was fcked. High yielding savings accounts weren't so anymore. Nobody was even offering 1% per year . It sucked. I took whatever was the next best thing and started the transfer. I did all this while reading the books the lovely couple had sent me and listening to the podcasts. I was learning so much! If was kinda like a personal finance masterclass / boot camp.I subsequently sent out fogged out screenshots of  my progress to the couple. They were so happy for me and so impressed that I had gotten all my homework done within hours. You want to be the person who, when you ask someone for help / advice and they offer it, you do it. Right?

The Following year, I lowered the company deductions as I had 12 months to contribute toward my 401k. The fun thing about 401k is that, the deductions are done before taxes, so you're able to dodge the taxman a little bit by contributing, It's such a win/win/win situation. I maxed out my IRA for the following year. I think it had gone up to $6000. I was learning so much from different podcasts that were recommending other podcasts, truck driving hours had turned to school time. My confidence was growing (if it's possible for it to grow any bigger haha). 

After working for the company for a certain amount of time, only a certain percentage of their free 401k contributions is vested (meaning, guaranteed). If you leave for whatever reason, you only get to keep that much. I think only at 5 years do you keep 100%. I wouldn't know, they kicked me to the curb before that. 

I have to tell you being so used to my bank balance being so high and all of a sudden having enough to sustain myself for a year (which wasn't much because I lived full time in the truck, so no rent payments. Yay!). The low bank balance drove me to want to save more and raise it back to what it was before, or even more. Not that I had really spent the money, I had just moved it around. My net worth still remained the same.

I will tell you more later, I hope that by sharing my path to financial freedom, you're inspired on your journey to yours. Please leave me a comment and subscribe to my youtube channel. 

@BabalwaBrook on all social


Cheers for now!


  1. Hi BB,
    I can tell you are excited to get your financial affairs in order.
    You raise a valid point about women having independence for security, just in case.
    It will be interesting to follow what you share on this as the markets are volatile with so much uncertainty.
    I'm sure you will be keeping a close eye on things.
    Congratulations on being consistent with your homework.

    I know you're pushed for time.
    If you pass by mine, you could always check out my quick reads, under the category of "Shorts".
    I think I told you I'm blocked from commenting and liking on YouTube but I have set up another account.
    Once I get that up and running, I'll follow and comment on that platform.

    OK BB, until next time.
    Much Love.🤗

    1. Thanks Mr. G.
      Funny, I was on your blog just yesterday. I’ll tweet just now what happened.
      Thanks for the shorts heads up. I’m interested in the recent trilogy u just did that ended up being a “4logy” lol. I saw that new post yesterday but wanna start from part 1.
      I did comment not long ago. And it showed that the comment was under review.